Saturday, January 24, 2015


Dear Readers,

I just received an email from someone who was offended by the watermarks on my photographs. This blog is mine and mine, alone.  I do mean to offend, if comments such as: DON'T BE RACIST,  END THE WAR ON WOMEN, DON'T BE A JERK, REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE, and NICE MATTERS , offend, then I clearly have struck a nerve.

After the Ferguson, MO decision, I put up the watermark END RACISM.  That prompted an email: "I am sorry you don't like white people.  I am leaving your blog."  I thought that was an interesting interpretation of my watermark.

We all have our biases and I do have prejudice.  Mostly I dislike interacting with racists, misogynists and jerks.  Luckily I don't have much opportunity.  Maybe I should say "Please."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015



I am not really sure where that expression came from.  Betsy uses it all the time when she packs up a machine for shipping. She actually uses a slightly different version. (Use your imagination)   As I was packing the featherweight on Saturday.  I kept thinking about it.

Tight is good.  You really don’t want anything shifting around.  It is also prudent to have the packing able to take a beating.  I use foam insulation to line the box.  I used to  double box the machines but the foam insulation works the best.  It is lightweight and strong.  It protects the corners of the box and because it is light, shipping costs are less.

 Today I packed the Viking 6010 for shipping.  I intended to take photos but I became so engrossed in the process  that I  forgot all about it.  I really hate packing up machines.  Betsy doesn’t mind.  She sees it as a puzzle.  I find it irritating and annoying.  Since I want to sell more machines I need to just get over this.  On Saturday I refused to become irritated and annoyed.   I was very methodical;  just kept plugging away.  I didn’t enjoy the process but I hated it less.  Today I was much more efficient and managed to shave 30 minutes off my packing time.    On Saturday I spent two hours packing the FW.  Today I was finished in 90 minutes and that included wrapping the box with brown paper.  I used a Thin Prep Pap smear box from work.  It was clearly marked “Flammable Liquid” so I thought I should just wrap the whole thing up.   I like that box.  Perfect size and heavy weight cardboard.  Time to call materials management and ask that they save the boxes for me. 

Two machines are off to their new homes now.  The quilt frame is scheduled for delivery in ten days.  I guess I should take a look at the inventory and see what machine is next for market.  I am thinking about the black 301. Or....maybe not.  
Maybe the LBOW

needs a foot

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Beautiful Machine

Today I taught my friend L. how to use a treadle sewing machine. I had been wanting to put a treadle in her house since the first time I visited her in her new home.   I could just see a beautiful Singer Red Head there. So last year, at Christmas time,  Betsy and I delivered one.  L. was away.  She had a house guest who let us in.

"What a beautiful machine."  He must have said it a dozen times. 

 We didn't know where she would want it, so we left it in the middle of the downstairs.  Then we left, feeling a little like the gardener who sneaks baskets of zucchini onto the neighbors' porches.  But this was different,  L. knew we were bringing the machine  and she actually wanted it.

 Sine then, every time I would see her at work, I would mention sewing and the machine. I had no idea that she hadn't put the machine in its stand.  No idea.  I just imagined it sitting there, beautifully, in her beautiful home. 

I finally invited myself over and went today.  There was the treadle stand, basically, right where we had left it.

I opened it up. 

"Where's the machine?"  I said, a bit startled. 

"Right here."  Still swaddled in its bed of sheets and towels, like you know who.

"Do you have a rubber band and a screwdriver?"

And I showed her how to put the machine in its stand.  

"Oh, I could have done that."  (Yup, I thought, you can deliver a baby, you can certainly line up a couple of hinge pins in some hinge holes on the back of a sewing machine, for sure.  Plus there were pretty explicit written instructions right there on the machine)

I demonstrated how to treadle and soon she had the rhythm and was stitching away on a practice piece.  I didn't tell her that when I started treading,  I practiced and practiced on paper first before I even put thread in the machine. 

"I like this.  Sometimes the electric machine seems to get away from me."

 She made one pillow case and was working on the second when I left to wash the car (that was an exercise in futility, January thaw)

I may have to invite myself over again. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Betsy and I cleaned this nice, "vintage 90s" Over lock sewing machine (AKA serger) today.  It is a nice little machine.  Quiet and from the beginning, stitched beautifully with all of the tension settings at "3." It was made by Juki for Bernina.  Maybe Bernina was still making sergers in the early 90s, but I know that my Bernina 2000CDE is just like my Juki.  I wonder if this was marketed as a less expensive alternative back then.

We don't know a lot about sergers (Sheesh, do I sound like an eBay seller, or what?) They are not at all like sewing machines. 

"Should we take off that plate and see what's underneath?" Miss "I have a Screw driver and I am not afraid to use it" asked.

"Why Not?" said I.

BFD, thought I.  We swept it out and applied one drop of oil to the metal connections.  I caught a glimpse of the gears and determined that they looked fine.

"We could take the back off and really look at them." she said, again wielding that Phillips Head menacingly.

"No." I said with authority.  And since I was the Boss for the Day, she agreed.

We had it all clean and ready to go.  We plugged it in and there was absolutely nothing.  No light, no juice no nothing.  Betsy tightened the light bulb and that worked.  Good sign.  But there was NOTHING when we tried the foot controller. 

I suggested that maybe, for safety reasons, it wouldn't work if it was all open.  We closed up the side and the front; success.

 It is a bit of a pain to thread.  We needed the over lock threader   (about a hundred of them came with the South River stash).  I did not have trouble following the diagrams and directions in the manual.  Betsy complained, bitterly, about them.

"Why don't they write the directions more clearly?" she moaned.  Maybe it was because I had just threaded up the 2000CDE yesterday that I had less difficulty. 

It is a bit tricky to get the thread looped around the first guide.

 But we managed.  Once we understood how to do it, we were much more adept each time.

Getting the thread through the lower looper is a bit tricky.  You have to pull the thread through from the left (it helps to realize that the machine opens on that side) loop it over the looper from back to front  and then pass it back through to the right side to thread it through the hole in the looper.  Good thing we had four hands.

Betsy likes to sew fast and she loves to put all the power to the motor of any machine, including her car.  She let me take the first few stitches.  We tried it out on some muslin and then on some fleece: very, very, very nice.

 If I didn't already have two sergers, I would keep this one.  It is so nice.  Admittedly my 2000CDE is easier to thread and has more features (i.e. cover stitch capable) .  Oh, and it is a Bernina, though I am sure it is also made by Juki.  Still, I am a snob and it is the only Bernina I own.  Not that I could sell it, ever.  It was Mom's. 

Wilson was disinterested, though that is no surprise.   I am trying to keep him quiet for the next couple of weeks.  He has a tumor on his spleen and should it crack, it could bleed and cause him some significant pain.    He will undergo a splenectomy in a couple of weeks and if all goes well, will be cured.  He sure did perk up when Steve brought home some Brook's Barbeque (chicken).

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bye Bye Bailey

It didn’t take long.  I posted an ad on Craig’s List, on the Bailey FB page, and on here.  I had an immediate response on the FB page and negotiated a deal within hours. That fell through, mercifully, for I had offered to ship the machine.  I had had other interest and yesterday completed a deal.  The Bailey now has a new home.

I am relieved that I didn’t have to ship the machine.  I had all of the originally packing and was confident that the machine would be safe.  Mr. Bailey had  bolted the machine to two pieces of composite strand board and packed custom cut, rigid insulation pieces around it for shipping.  MA and I decided that the Bailey would be perfectly safe if we just packed it in the box without using the bolts.  So we did.  In the upstairs guest apartment. 

Then we looked at each other and we looked at the 60 pound bulky box and said “How are we going to get it downstairs?”   Too bulky for two people to manage and too heavy for one.  So we unpacked it and carried the packing and machine separately to the shop and repacked it up.

(Steven advised, when I told him this story later, “That’s what the appliance dolly is for”  I told him that it took less time for us to unpack it and carry it down the stairs and repack it  than it would have for me to hunt for the dolly, haul it up and then haul it back down. Smarty pants)

Taking the frame apart was another story.  I knew that MA wanted to take the whole system with her.  Of Course!  But we weren’t sure if it would fit in her vehicle .  She took the take up rail out to her car and when she didn’t come back with it, I knew we were packing the whole thing up.

 We were racing against the weather, as the snow had changed to sleet and freezing rain.  “Wintry Mix” the forecasters call it.  I call it miserable.  MA wasn’t fazed.  She kept working.  I was fretting, creating chaos and worried about her trip home.

“I will drive slowly,  I know how to drive in this weather.” 

“Yes, but, it is the moronic, other drivers who don’t”

Happy ending.  MA made it home, I learned via email. I went to bed and slept well for the first time since I put a deposit down on the Nolting. (I ordered a commercial Nolting frame so it won't like exactly like this).

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

FOR SALE: Bailey Home Quilter 17 Pro SOLD

After spending the day with The Bailey on Sunday, I decided it was ready for a new home.  It is working well, I enjoyed using it but I need a bit more speed. I also need more practice without the stitch regulator. I found a low shank hopping foot and I am planning to play with that later this week. 

I loaded the OBW onto the frame, this time using pins rather than chain stitching the quilt to the leaders  The OBW is 50 by 60.  I thought it would load rather quickly.  It did, but I had to re-pin it because I didn’t pin the back on straight.  I also raked my right ring finger on one of the pins and left a bit of DNA on the quilt.  Sigh.

It is a great starter system.  I am including the Grace GMQ Pro frame with the machine.  It is a freebie, more or less.  I would prefer local pick up, but am willing to ship the machine (not the frame)  to the lower 48 states for shipping costs alone. 

Contact me via the Contact info at the top of the page. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Tidy Up

I tidied the wires on the Bailey today before I quilted the OBW.  I finished the 50 X 60 quilt in an afternoon.  I am practicing without the stitch regulator.  I prefer the sound of the machine "naked"

The many, many, many seams in the hexagons proved a challenge with the foot I was using.  I wonder if a low shank hopping foot would work.  Might have to try it.